14 January 2011

Pastor, Musician.... making a “SPARK”

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ"     - Ephesians 4:11-13

This week’s focus has been about finding peace in our heart. On Monday, I shared how Christian music touches my heart.  I think one of the reasons so many people feel the same way, is because music allows us to praise God in whatever way we choose.... maybe it’s through a beautiful traditional hymn, a contemporary praise tune, playing an instrument, rapping for Jesus, leading worship, writing music or just shouting to the Lord – even if it’s “off key.”  Today I am going to introduce you to someone who is using his musical talent to “sparkle” in some pretty amazing ways!

Years ago, Scott and I met when we served on a team for a Christian spiritual weekend at a juvenile detention center.  Scott was leading the music team, and I was there to add another voice to the mix.  I definitely did not possess a “beautiful voice,” but I was able to offer lots of enthusiasm and the obedience to serve God wherever I was needed.  Today I still sing (a little off-key), and Scott Johnson is Pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Conway, South Carolina, where he is using his music to touch the lives of not only his congregation but others, even as far away as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

It is my belief that the words of Christian songs come from God’s presence overflowing in the hearts of those who love Him.  Songwriters and musicians find inspiration in many different ways.  It could be the result of pure joy, or reflections from a time when God carried someone through extremely difficult circumstances, or maybe their music is written to share a lesson or message inspired by God’s word.  In a recent interview for the SC United Methodist Advocate, Pastor Johnson spoke about the inspiration for his music.  In the article Johnson told the writer, “Some songs are a reaction to what’s going on in my life, some are my prayer journals and some I’ve written in the midst of writing a sermon because I couldn’t get in prose what I wanted to say. So I stopped, wrote the song, and then I was able to write the sermon.”  He has just released a CD of contemporary Christian songs, entitled “Love Still Wins.”  A portion of the sales (purchased directly from Johnson) go to helping his church raise money to aid in constructing wells and latrines in the Congo.  (A link to read the entire article and CD purchase info can be found on my Resource Page.) 

IT’S FRIDAY, LET’S SPARKLE... Action Required... One important point that Pastor Scott mentioned in the interview was that “God holds us responsible to use the gifts He’s given us.”  At “Peace, Love and Sparkle,” we have been talking about the many ways we serve Christ and witness to others, aka “sparkle.”  The words of 2 Corinthians 4:7 tell us, We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.  God uses us just as we are... imperfect people... broken, cracked pots... a “work in progress.”  Using our gifts for kingdom work takes us beyond ourselves, and when we “sparkle,” others can see the possibility that God could use them too, just how they are.
 If God has blessed you with musical gifts, why not consider joining the church choir, praise team, or helping with the children’s music program.  If that is outside of your comfort zone... you could invite someone to go with you to a Christian concert.  Or you could always hum, whistle, clap your hands... or just turn on a Christian radio station.  Don’t be afraid to “Praise the Lord” in whatever way the Spirit moves you.  You never know how your actions may affect those around you.  Pastor Johnson wisely said it this way, “Go put your stuff to work and trust God with the outcomes.”

As we continue our journey, hopefully we will begin to experience more of God’s peace and see changes that could only come from our willingness to be obedient and step out in faith. 

... til Monday... God’s Peace – Donna Weaver

"Your talent is God's gift to you.
What you do with it is your gift back to God." - Leo Buscaglia

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